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Hot and Steamy in Belize

by PCW ~, 22 April 2008

Belize 2008 by Al Braybrooke ~ Photos by Paul Craddy (daylight) and Brendan Marris (underground)

During February to March 10 cavers, including 7 SWCC members, embarked on another expedition to Belize, Central America.

See Nicky Bayley's excellent videos on YouTube: Tiger Cave , Pueblo Creek Cave , Jungle Bashing , Base Camp Comforts

The main objectives were to continue the exploration of Pueblo Creek Cave, a potential big new river system and to get a team to the remote Experanza Camp, where the Central River sinks.
In addition it was intended to follow up other leads and to develop new guides and contacts for future expeditions.

Base Camp The only way to travel ~ Brendan, Russ, Paul and Rich

A full detailed report will be produced shortly but to briefly summarize the expedition had its share of successes and disappointments.
The Pueblo Creek system has been pushed for approx 2km more, with a number of teams working in there, often camping at the entrance. The new extensions include some fine stream passage and a massive new chamber, named Lobster Chamber after one of its rather large occupants. From here the cave continues but the pushing team had to turn back while still faced with obvious ways on.

Russ and Brendan under the canopy Nicky Bayley approaching ????

A team reached Esperanza camp early in the trip, but found that difficulty accessing the trails caused it to be almost an extra day’s walk from the first attempt in 2006. This combined with heavy rain meant that the amount of exploration that could be carried out was reduced. A number of sites were investigated along the route, but weather conditions seriously dampened full exploration.

Later a team went and visited these caves on a four day expedition, a new shaft was descended to 50m, the limit of the rope they could carry and another cave has possibly led into the course of the underground ‘Rio Grande.’ Both need more attention in the future and are possibly beyond what we can attain with our current logistics, mules or helicopter food drops are necessary.

The entrance to Pueblo Creek Cave . . . . and our home for 2 days
Nicky and Andy - Main Passage

Nicky in the First Lake

Nicky and Andy in the Chamber of Enormity Andy, Paul and Al in Lobster Chamber (spot the tiny figures . .)
Andy in Lobster Chamber Paul in the streamway beyond Lobster Chamber

The ‘Roaring River’ in Tiger Cave, found in the 80’s by a US team but impassable, now has a much reduced water level, thanks to the new nearby Hydro Plant. This was entered and has so far given several hundred meters of new passage with a waterfall still unclimbed.

Many other sites were visited accompanied by local guides and though most were photographed and mapped they were largely on a much smaller scale.

The team were:
Alan Braybrooke, Nicky Bayley, Paul Craddy, Toby Dryden, Gary Evans, Brendan Marris and Phil Walker from SWCC and Andy Lewington, Rich Hudson and Russ Brooks from other clubs.

A fuller report will be posted when available.